The creative field is highly competitive. As an artist, you put so much time and energy into your creations. And there’s even more pressure to get it right when your livelihood depends on it. So, what does it mean when you wake up one day and realize you don’t want to do this anymore? Do the tasks that used to be fun and challenging now feel pointless? Or maybe you’re mentally exhausted and overwhelmed by your work? If this is what you’re feeling, you might be experiencing something called “creative burnout”.
This feeling is familiar to many. If you’re an artist, it’s possible that you’ve been through it before. If not, you might want to familiarize yourself with the common symptoms, like extreme stress and exhaustion. That way, you’ll be able to recognize if you need to step back for your health.
Creative burnout can have a negative effect on your ability to work and leave you feeling frustrated. Really, it’s an artist’s worst nightmare. But it’s a lot more common than you think.
In this blog, we’re going to tell you all about creative burnout and how you can deal with it.
What is creative burnout?
Creative burnout is a kind of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion linked to working in the creative field. Creative burnout symptoms differ from person to person and can be hard to decipher. However, there are certain signs you should pay attention to:
- You’re procrastinating a lot more than before.
- You find it difficult to do basic tasks.
- You’re experiencing constant exhaustion.
- You’re stressed all the time without knowing why.
- You compare your work and productivity to others in an unhealthy way.
- You’re constantly binge watching TV shows or scrolling through social media.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from creative burnout.
How to deal with creative burnout
There is no simple solution to this problem. However, the good news is, you don’t have to go through it alone. We’re here with some information. And you can reach out to other people who might be going through this, to understand how they’re coping. Everyone has their own way of bouncing back from this crisis, and it doesn’t have to be the same for all. But we hope these 7 tips will help you deal with your creative burnout.
1. Understand why you’re feeling this way
Yes, what you’re feeling can be complex, but you can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it. Get to the root of the problem by asking yourself these questions:
- Is your work too demanding for you to handle?
- Is your work getting monotonous?
- Do you find it difficult to come up with new ideas?
- Has your self-confidence taken a blow?
Start thinking through the answers to each of them. Write down your thoughts, if that helps, or talk to a friend. The sooner you understand the problem, the sooner you’ll be able to get your creative juices flowing again.
2. Let go of the shame
Artists are very proud of their work, and rightly so! This is a demanding profession, and your skills have probably taken years to master. However, beware of making your whole life about your art. Because when you hit a mental roadblock, your self-esteem can take a pretty big hit. This can lead to feelings of shame and doubtfulness. Maybe it’s time for you to shift your view of the situation by finding other things to focus on. Try taking up a new, low-stress hobby, like yoga or gardening. This way, you can prevent burnout and have a healthier relationship with your art.
3. Take breaks in between
Taking regular breaks in between tasks can do wonders for your mental health. Humans have a limited attention span. And your brain needs time to switch off from all the work it’s been doing!
If you’ve ever experienced a new sense of clarity after you’ve taken a night off work, it isn’t a coincidence. Your brain just got the rest it desperately needed, which helped it come up with better ideas! So, do what you need to do to freshen yourself up. Take the afternoon off, or go the whole hog and book a full vacation. Remember, this is about doing what is best for you.
4. Do something creative – for fun!
Being creative at work is different from doing something creative just for fun. When you’re working, the pressure to deliver can take its toll on you. If that’s what’s causing your creative burnout, it’s time to take the pressure off!
Do something creative just for fun. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary. It can be a doodle, a fun blog, or maybe an experimental pasta recipe – just let the creativity flow.
5. Seek out your friends
Creative burnout can make you feel isolated (a direct result of your feelings of shame and doubt). So, to deal with this, you can turn to your support group or a therapist. Friends and mentors can be incredibly helpful in getting you out of your rut. But, this can’t be a one-way process. You have to communicate with them, too. Tell them exactly how you’re feeling and what you need from them.
Do you need someone who will listen to you while you vent? Do you want advice? Or do you just want to go out and forget about it for a while? Whatever it is, surely, they will do what they can to help you.
Plus, your time away from your project might just give you a new perspective on it when you return.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
For better or for worse, you can be your own toughest critic. However, there are certain things you can do to overcome these feelings of not being good enough. Remember all your past achievements and pat yourself on the back for everything you’ve accomplished so far! There are so many ways to do this. Reread messages from happy clients or go through positive testimonials on Facebook. You’ll be reminded of your capability and feel more confident about your work. Why not save these pick-me-ups somewhere on your computer so you can turn to them when you’re feeling down?
7. Try to reduce your stress
Stress is definitely the devil when it comes to hampering creativity. So, find ways to calm yourself down and take all that weight off your shoulders. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but just take it one step at a time.
Consider practicing mindfulness. This is a good way to understand what’s going on in your work life. It can also help you get rid of all the unnecessary pressure you put on yourself. It’s okay, too, to set boundaries in your professional and personal lives. If you ever feel overwhelmed or overworked, learn to say ‘no’ to people.
Top Tip: Keep things organized and try to get things done in plenty of time. This will take some of the stress out of your job. There are also plenty of online tools that can help you with your work as well.
Creative burnout can be devastating. If you’re going through it, understand that you’re not alone. Reach out for help if possible. Hopefully, by following the suggestions above, you will start to feel a bit better. At the same time, it’s important for you to accept yourself and your feelings. There is no shame in slowing down. Take a break. And take care of yourself, because you and your art deserve it.
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